Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stairway to Gabion (Part 2 of the Chaparral Water Treatment Plant Revisit)

Rocks in cages could be steps, too, couldn't they? With a fine enough mesh, smaller than toes.

I love the way they've let the vegetation grow into the architectural elements. The photos of the place right after it was built, over on the Swaback Partners site, are cool, but stark and without greenery. Now that nature has been given a part to play, the structures appear more in harmony with the setting.

Gabion walled restroom. See that drinking fountain in there? ICE COLD, and plenty of pressure to fill a water bottle to the top. Straight from Le Source Chaparral (treated canal water).

Other than being visually stunning, and uncommon to see in this application, I wonder what gabion walls actually do? Other than repel cannon balls, I mean. And stand up to flood waters in washes. A subject for further bicycle-based research, I think.

Whoever designed the desert landscaping nailed it. Not with rusty nails, I mean, they did an excellent job of carefully placing a variety of indigenous plants in a scattered plan that looks natural yet integrates with a highly built and architecturally bold setting. Check this out, for example.

Aloes actually eat gabion buttresses. At night, when no one is around, they dine. Rock and rusty iron is their favorite midnight snack. It's what gives them healing powers. And you thought it was "natural".

There are some similar, and not-so-similar, structures that I plan to ride out and examine up close, but they are farther afield that the Chaparral WTP, so I plan to wait for cooler weather. Mid to upper double digits is what I'm shooting for. I've had my fill of gabion for a while. Don't get me wrong, this was a delicious four course meal of ground barriers, walls, buttresses, and columns, with cactus cream and eau de Chaparral for dessert, but since I am not yet making progress with convincing Mrs. Alpha to permit a few strings of gabion cages in the front yard, or, you know, a huge gabion walled man-cave out back with buttresses and rebar stairs, I'll have to file them under G for good ideas. 

A bike shop with gabion walls, hmmmm. How chic. Get up. Go ride.


  1. Maybe just a Gabion shed in the back yard?

  2. Steve that would be perfect. would sit up and take notice if I had one of those, I bet.


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